“Darry,” spoke Wolgast in a voice full of feeling, “you’re not woozy to-day, are you?”
“I don’t believe I am,” smiled Dave.
“Well, you know, old chap, you’ve been unaccountably stale—–or something—–at times this season. You haven’t been the real Darry—–always. You’re feeling in really bully form today?”
“I’m pretty sure that I’m in good winning form,” Dave replied. “Will that be enough?”
Wolgast looked him over, then rejoined:
“Somehow, I think you’re in pretty good form. I’ll feel better, very likely, after we’ve played for ten minutes. Darry, old fellow, just don’t forget how much the Navy depends upon you.”
“Are you all right, Davy?” Dan Dalzell demanded in a more than anxious undertone.
“I certainly am, Danny boy.”
“But, you know-----”
“Yes; I know that, for a while, I showed signs of going fuzzy. But I’m over that.”
“Good!” chuckled Dan, as he caught the resolute flash in Darrin’s eyes. “I was fearfully afraid that you’d go bad simply because you didn’t have Prescott to go up against. For a good many days that very fact seemed to prey upon your mind and make you indifferent.”
“Danny boy, I am going to play my mightiest, just because Prescott isn’t with the Army!”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean that I’m going to make the West Point fellows most abominably sorry that they didn’t have Dick Prescott on their eleven. And you want to stand with me in that, Danny boy. Keep hammering the Army to-day, and with every blow just think it’s another blow struck for Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes. Oh, we’ll trim West Point in their joint name!”
WHEN “BRACE UP, ARMY!” WAS THE WORD
“All out for practice!” called Wolgast.
Team men and subs. bunched, the Navy players trotted on to the field, amid a tempest of wild cheering.
No sooner had Dave Darrin halted for an instant, when he broke into a whirlwind of sprinting speed. Dan Dalzell tried to keep up with him, but found it impossible.
“Good old Darry!” yelled a hoarse voice from one of the grandstands. “That’s the way you’ll go around the end to-day!”
Some of the other Navy players were kicking a ball back and forth. The Army team was not yet on the field, but it came, a few moments later, and received a tremendous ovation from its own solid ranks of rooters.
This time Darrin barely glanced at any of the Army players. He knew that Prescott and Holmes were not there. Whoever else might be, he was not interested.
Only a very few minutes were allowed for practice. During this exercise the Army and Navy bands played alternately.
Then the referee signaled the bands to stop.
Tril-l-l-l! sounded the whistle, and Army and Navy captains trotted to the center of the field to watch the toss of the coin. Wolgast won, and awarded the kick-off to the Army.